MLB and Steroids: Time for Sports Journalists to Get Off Their High Horse

Randy DobsonContributor IJanuary 11, 2010

On Jan. 11, 2009, Mark McGwire finally came clean. After years of supposition and insinuation, the man finally admitted what we all knew to be true: He used steroids.

If you Google Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the first line in his bio reads, in part, "Tim Brown is an award-winning writer with 20 years of experience covering Major League Baseball...", and then goes on to say that he, "...studied journalism at the University of Southern California and Cal State Northridge."

If so, I am wondering if they actually taught their students how to be journalists with integrity at USC or CSN?

The reason I ask is plain and simple: Certain journalists have been in the industry for at least 20 years and, as such, had an opportunity to write about the abundance of steroid and performance-enhancing drug (PEDs) use as far back as the early 1990s, yet chose not to.

And these same individuals, with all of their journalistic integrity, choose to do so now. Years after the fact, they write derogatory comments, articles, and diatribes about former players who, after bringing the game back from near-extinction, are bearing the unfortunate brunt of the deserved weight of PED usage.

First, let me point out that any use of PEDs should be (if still playing) grounds for a one-year suspension from the league. However, if the individual's use occurred before 1991, there should be absolutely no repercussions.

You can ask every single journalist covering baseball between 1990 and 1997: Casual use and distribution of steroids had not only been outlawed by the federal government, but banned from baseball by 1991.

In fact, in 1991, Commissioner Fay Vincent issued a “memo” to all major league teams, owners, general managers, and the Major League Baseball Players’ Union, stating, in part, "The possession, sale, or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players or personnel is strictly prohibited...This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs...including steroids."

With the aforementioned in mind, I wonder about any and all journalists, and I mean any journalists, in today’s market who have been covering Major League Baseball, especially any award-winning journalists covering this, America’s pastime, who did not raise red flags back then, and have the audacity to do so today.

Further to the above, I find it fairly ironic that the one thing that brought baseball back from the depths of sports irrelevance in 1994 to the mega-billion dollar entity that it is today, the one thing that reconnected America with baseball, was the home run.

The year in particular was 1998. And the home run kept America, if not the world, glued to a television set each night while Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire chased No. 61.

No. This is wrong.

What the current MLB Commissioner, the “journalists” of today, and, indeed, the American public are perpetrating against these players of the “Steroid Era” is hypocritical, if not downright criminal.

Bud Selig was well aware of a steroid problem and as the one honest person in this mess admitted years ago, likely, so too were a former owner and former President of the United States of America.

But following on their coattails, begging for their start in the industry of so-called sports journalism, were people just like Mr. Brown. People who, as young as they were, and as educated as they might have been, simply didn’t see, or didn’t pay attention to, what was plainly obvious.

But, hey, far be it from someone who never studied journalism in college to point out to those who did, that they were wrong then…and they are dang sure wrong now.